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"District 9" Best Sci-fi Movie of 09? 705

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lotta-hype-on-this-one dept.
Travis wrote in with a story that says much of what my friends have been saying to me all weekend: "Slashdot covered 'District 9' back in July. I was originally excited to see this movie for its exhibition of exoskeleton robot 'mechs' (see images and video at Hizook.com ). After watching the film this opening weekend, I can honestly say that it was an amazing science fiction movie! Everything was spot-on: the plot, the human elements, the alien elements, the technology, and the seamless blend of special effects with real camera capture. This film should vault Neill Blomkamp into sci-fi stardom, on par with George Lucas and the Wachowski Brothers (of Matrix fame). This is certainly a must-see movie — easily the best movie of the year."
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"District 9" Best Sci-fi Movie of 09?

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:40AM (#29090881) Journal

    This film should vault Neill Blomkamp into sci-fi stardom, on par with George Lucas and the Wachowski Brothers (of Matrix fame).

    Are you saying that this movie is as good/groundbreaking as Star Wars orThe Matrix? I am somewhat dubious.

    Don't get me wrong, it looks a whole lot better than most sci-fi movies. I especially like how the first commercials I saw for it were public service announcements about District 9. Then commercials with non-human sympathizers being arrested. Then later you see a commercial with "glick gluck mcglorlock" (translation: "We just want to go home.") and you kinda realize that there's going to be more depth to the story than Starship Troopers (the movie, not the book). Looks interesting, I'll definitely Netflix it.

    It might be the best sci-fi movie of '09 but you've still got

    • Gamer
    • The Fourth Kind
    • The Time Traveler's Wife
    • Pandorum
    • Splice
    • The Surrogates
    • 2012
    • 9
    • AstroBoy
    • The Box
    • The Sky Crawlers
    • Radio Free Albemuth
    • Hunter Prey
    • Deadland

    While a lot don't have release dates yet and could be pushed back and most will probably suck, that's a lot of competition to dismiss at this point. And lastly, I have great hope for Franklyn [imdb.com] (to be released here in the states).

    • by krou (1027572) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:44AM (#29090931)
      You forgot Moon [imdb.com].
    • by PrescriptionWarning (932687) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:44AM (#29090941)
      Go ahead and cross off the Time Traveler's Wife from that list, its not really Sci-fi and its been getting low to mid range review scores anyway.

      The Surrogates does seem kinda cool though, looking forward to see how that one does.
      • by Derkec (463377) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:12AM (#29093297)

        Time Traveler's was very much an emotion driven movie (ie chick flick). It was a study on inter-personal relationships, free will, and destiny given a scenario where someone occasionally blinks out of existence and materializes at some significant place in the past or future. In that it used an element of fantasy to explore the human condition, I think it deserves sci-fi / fantasy respect. But it will do less than nothing to satisfy the teen-age boy in us that wants to see mechs blow shit up.

      • by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:31AM (#29093621)

        Go ahead and cross off the Time Traveler's Wife from that list, its not really Sci-fi and its been getting low to mid range review scores anyway.

        What are you talking about? What makes you say that it's not scifi? The fact that it's a chick flick, too, doesn't make it not science fiction. From what I can tell, it's just as much science fiction as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

        Of course, some people define "scifi" differently from "science fiction". Something like "space battle/cool technology/futuristic awesomeness". Maybe you meant it that way.

    • by tomzyk (158497) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:53AM (#29091095) Journal

      I just briefly scrolled through the list and for a half of a second thought I saw "90210" listed as an up-and-coming Sci-Fi movie.

      • by Guppy (12314) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:19AM (#29091449)

        I just briefly scrolled through the list and for a half of a second thought I saw "90210" listed as an up-and-coming Sci-Fi movie.

        Our SF club used to refer to "Space: Above and Beyond" as "Space: 90210". Or sometimes "Melrose Space". Too many young, good looking, vapid actors.

        • That series was pretty strange. You've got to watch the last two episodes to realise how good the show is, but to understand them, you've got to watch the whole other episodes first, and they are mostly cheesy.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          One of the actresses in that, I believe Kristen Cloke is the name, looked pretty much exactly like an ex-girlfriend of mine. Twin sister/clone level of similarity... made watching it interesting and painful.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:57AM (#29091147)

      there's going to be more depth to the story than Starship Troopers

      So much of District 9 happens in underground caves?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jawn98685 (687784)
      I have seen none of those on your list, but I have seen "District 9". IMO, it won't take much for one of the others to top it.
      I'm sorry, but once you get past the "apartheid, only with aliens this time" metaphor (which is difficult to do because the movie clubs you over the head with it every fifteen minutes), there just isn't much story, and what there is, is pretty trite. Same goes for the characters.
      Yes, the CGI effects were astoundingly good. Best I've ever seen, but special effects to not a great m
      • by adisakp (705706) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:55AM (#29092937) Journal

        the CGI effects were astoundingly good. Best I've ever seen

        The fact that they produced the best looking special effects you've EVER SEEN on a budget less than 1/10 that of a normal summer blockbuster didn't phase you as something groundbreaking or revolutionary ?

        There were plenty more elements to the plot than apartheid. Personally, I felt the bigger parts of the plot were the interactions between the main character and his wife -- who is rarely shown but constantly mentioned throughout the movie. Despite everything that Wikus is undergoing, he is actually gaining humanity throughout the movie rather than losing it -- and his connection to his wife is the greatest force driving him... not some apartheid or megacorporation. Yes, those are shallow devices to setup the situation and they certainly have some flaws, but in the end, this is a uniquely personal and human journey of fear and loss that Wikus takes us through.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mbrod (19122)
        I don't think the primary point was apartheid. If it was, using SA as the setting would be way too obvious, and well... stupid. Of course the setting being SA brings additional clues to the broader message but it wasn't purely apartheid. It was primarily about oppression. Oppression in terms of the oppressors can turn in to the oppressed at any moment, so think twice about how good of an idea oppressing people is. It might be serving your interest today but tomorrow you may be the one being oppressed. Also
      • by xigxag (167441) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:05AM (#29093123)

        Whereas the apartheid metaphor was obvious, it was certainly not central to understanding and appreciating the story. If anything, the film seemed to go out of its way to make the point that this was NOT an exercise in so-called "white guilt" -- the reluctant human hero was a white guy and some of the nastiest villains were black.

        This was a concept film. As such, yes, the concept was simple and there wasn't much "story." It told the story it needed to tell and nothing more.

        (spoilers ahead)

        To me, one of the most interesting and most genuinely SF-like aspects of the film was the way the that we were easily led to interpret the behavior of the prawns as random and aimless, inscrutably alien. Old junk collecting, circuit boards hung from the walls, seemed like weird habits until the film switched to giving us translations of the aliens' thoughts. When we learned they were collecting fuel and building an apparatus to distill it, we had to reevaluate what looked moments earlier like low-level scavenging.

        Then there were the unanswered questions: Was the captain a higher mental caste than the rank and file aliens? Why did the captain evacuate the ship in the first place if it was safe to return to? I like that the film didn't even attempt to resolve such issues. In real life situations are not neatly wrapped up and I feel that added to the verisimilitude.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by debatem1 (1087307)
          I just went and saw the movie, and, just to get my biases out of the way, I hated it. I thought it was simplistic, that they clubbed you over the head with the apartheid metaphor, and that the oft-praised special effects were no better than many other films we've seen, except that the blurrycam makes their flaws less noticeable.

          All of that's beside the point, though- the real dealbreaker was the incessant deus ex moments and sudden changes of heart among the main characters. It felt like the scriptwriter
          • All the TV interviews were real unscripted questions asked of real South Africans on illegal immigrants [wikipedia.org] in South Africa. I quote from here [wired.com]: To give the short a realistic feel, Blomkamp interviewed real people about the influx of immigrants into real-life Johannesburg; their frank answers to questions about Zimbabweans and other refugees were transformed into documentary-style commentary on extraterrestrials unwanted by a fearful local population. (See Alive in Joburg below.)

            Everyone harping on about how thi

    • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:11AM (#29091325)

      This film should vault Neill Blomkamp into sci-fi stardom, on par with George Lucas and the Wachowski Brothers (of Matrix fame).

      Are you saying that this movie is as good/groundbreaking as Star Wars orThe Matrix? I am somewhat dubious.

      Don't get me wrong, it looks a whole lot better than most sci-fi movies. I especially like how the first commercials I saw for it were public service announcements about District 9. Then commercials with non-human sympathizers being arrested. Then later you see a commercial with "glick gluck mcglorlock" (translation: "We just want to go home.") and you kinda realize that there's going to be more depth to the story than Starship Troopers (the movie, not the book). Looks interesting, I'll definitely Netflix it.

      It might be the best sci-fi movie of '09 but you've still got...

      Are we talking about Science Fiction movies? Or Science Fantasy?

      If we're talking about good old-fashioned hard sci-fi, I might suggest that it's the only sci-fi movie of 2009.

      Most sci-fi movies these days are nothing more than action movies or horror movies dressed up with aliens and rayguns. District 9 actually uses the premise to tell us something about ourselves. I don't recall the last "sci-fi" movie I watched that did that.

      • by mbourgon (186257) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:24AM (#29091533) Homepage

        Moon. He's on the dark side, mining Helium-3. And he's on the frickin' MOON. Not to mention that the story and acting is excellent. I liked District 9, but Moon is better.

      • by Pharmboy (216950) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:30AM (#29091621) Journal

        Most sci-fi movies these days are nothing more than action movies or horror movies dressed up with aliens and rayguns. District 9 actually uses the premise to tell us something about ourselves. I don't recall the last "sci-fi" movie I watched that did that.

        Starship Troopers? [imdb.com]

        *ducks* ;)

    • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:15AM (#29091403)

      Are you saying that this movie is as good/groundbreaking as Star Wars or The Matrix? I am somewhat dubious.

      Lots of movies have been billed as "the next star wars" but in terms of success and popular impact, the Matrix is the only one that really nailed it, at least as far as sci-fi's gone. I don't know if geeks will be having matrix-themed weddings decades from now but hey, it's already got ruinous sequels just like Star Wars!

      I hear District 9 is good but will probably remain on the scifi geek list rather than crossing over into the mainstream like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. Probably more like a Blade Runner or Terminator 1 or 2. I wouldn't quite put LOTR on the same cultural impact comparison list since Star Wars and Matrix did not exist in any form before the theatrical release whereas LOTR has been loved for decades beforehand -- in other words, it had already made quite an impact before Peter Jackson touched it.

    • by adisakp (705706) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:35AM (#29091687) Journal

      Are you saying that this movie is as good/groundbreaking as Star Wars orThe Matrix? I am somewhat dubious.

      Yes. It. Is.

      No one has done anything like this before. The style of seamless blending of handheld, real documentary, fake news, CCTV (security cam) and live action fluid is tight. There is even first-person/third-person shooter cams. It's a distinctly unique style of "omniscient" camera person which can which from any source / any angle, yet while blending and cutting between all of them, it still feels cohesive and non-jarring.

      The integration of the aliens into the movie is especially groundbreaking and unique. There are aliens in literally 80-90% of the scenes and they look real. Not like Jar-Jar Binks or people in outfits. The look dirty and solid. Their textures reflect the environment. They move and interact with the environment like real creatures. You can actually *BELIEVE* they are there. Trust me, the special effects on this movie are unlike ANYTHING you've even seen before and that doesn't even count the action scenes.

      .

      Looks interesting, I'll definitely Netflix it.

      To be honest, if I could only have see one film in the actual Theatres this year out of all the ones I've already seen, I would chose District 9 - that includes comparing it to Star Trek, Harry Potter, Transformers, etc. It's definitely a "Big Screen"-worthy experience.

      This movie really is groundbreaking in many facets and there is no way you can simply dismiss it regardless of how many other movies are coming out this year. Your whole, "hum drum oh maybe I'll watch it on Netflix" attitude shows you're not even seriously interested in District 9. I didn't know much about it but it blew me away completely Besides, you're in now way qualified to pass any judgements on this movie until YOU'VE ACTUALLY SEEN IT.

      • Frustrating movie (Score:5, Insightful)

        by huckamania (533052) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:18AM (#29092317) Journal

        The problem with the movie is that the whole premise is flawed. The humans don't act like humans. They have no knowledge of the aliens and don't even seem interested. They shove ET into a ghetto and there are no scholars, philosophers, doctors, scientists or even media trying to gain access to them? No one on the whole globe cares at all, except for an evil haliburton type company. Really? Sitting in the audience I couldn't help but think that someone involved in this glossy, shiny turd would have pointed out that their core audience is going to be made up of people who would be on the first plane to Johannesburg to see an alien.

        And that is not a spoiler, that is just the trailers. It felt like it just missed some key plot points. A sequel has the potential to be much better, especially if it explains why the aliens are so ineffectual, another serious gripe.

        • by adisakp (705706) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:44AM (#29092763) Journal
          You could find just as serious or worse flaws in Star Wars or the Matrix. I mean really, the Aliens in Star Wars just acted like humans in latex and makeup.... basically hokey actors in rubber suits. That doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't a great movie and certainly doesn't detract from the fact that it was ground-breaking.

          I was criticizing the parent because he was dimissing the movie WITHOUT EVEN HAVING SEEN IT!

          As AintItCool.com says All I can really say is this, "Have you seen DISTRICT 9?" Because if you haven't. You can't even enter the conversation yet [aintitcool.com] As far as groundbreaking, I said nothing about the plot. I basically said the camera editing and the alien integration into the movie as a special effect alone are enough to be considered a huge jump forward. When you consider what they did on a $30 Million budget -- then yes, this movie is revolutionary -- it looks better than other movies from earlier this year produced on budgets 10 times greater.

          Furthermore, despite some flaws, I found the plot is unique and compelling. So did nearly 90% of the "professional" reviewers out there [rottentomatoes.com].

          You saw it. You didn't like it. You're entitled to your opinion. But this guy didn't even see the film and he's trashing it.
        • Re:Frustrating movie (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Jeremi (14640) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:47AM (#29092807) Homepage

          Keep in mind that the ship has been sitting there for 28 years, without any noticeable change. The scientists, the media, the philosophers all got bored and went home 20 years ago.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by liquiddark (719647)
          The movie would have been lessened by a broader focus. Where in the plot would you have stuck the activists, scientists, etc? In most real world cases those folks are kept away by bureaucratic means, and the bureaucracy in this movie has its hands full and then some. That's the point of the movie, even - it's administrated horror of a kind all too familiar to South Africans. The lead character is the ultimate administrator, and it's hard to understand that what he's doing is pretty much exactly what me
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nyri (132206)

      Sorry about ranting about matters of taste but in this case it seems to be in topic. So here we go...

      This film should vault Neill Blomkamp into sci-fi stardom, on par with George Lucas and the Wachowski Brothers (of Matrix fame).

      Are you saying that this movie is as good/groundbreaking as Star Wars orThe Matrix? I am somewhat dubious.

      I'm also, as Star Wars orThe Matrix are nice junk entertainment. If you want speak about science fiction classics, I would start out by mentioning Blade Runner and Alien. Of course, it is a matter of taste but to raise The Matrix to prestige is just barbarism.

      And after this, you continue with the following blasphemy:

      [Y]ou kinda realize that there's going to be more depth to the story than Starship Troopers (the movie, not the book).

      What? So you think that the movie was lacking in depth. Then you just did not get it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KeatonMill (566621)

        The director, Verhoeven, was disgusted with the book. As a dutch liberal he probably felt that the the world view propagated in the book was too totalitarian. The movie is a counter-argument to the book. It tries to be a movie (or art in more general) produced by such a society described in the book. And very well in my opinion. If you don't believe me, watch it again. All the "would you like to know more" -stuff indicates that you are in fact watching a movie from that era what the movie is about.

        The fact that the movie even tries to take part in a serious debate about the society in general is a plus. That it does it well, is a double plus. That it goes on and don't try to re-do the book but to continue the theme of the book is a such a fashion is double-double plus.

        Please have some knowledge of the movie you're talking about before you go spouting about what "dutch liberals probably feel." The movie had a plot and script and was in preproduction before the rights to the book were secured -- they changed some character names and a few plot points in order to make it Starship Troopers but most of the production team hadn't even read the book before shooting the film.

        My anal-ness for accuracy being satisfied, the rest of your point is good and well-taken :-)

  • good, not great. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by heptapod (243146) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:44AM (#29090927) Journal

    The third act is where the movie devolved into traditional Hollywood tropes.
    The long-awaited shootout with the asshole who has been hounding the protagonist since the first act. Pitting two factions, MNU + Nigerians, against each other. The hero being saved by the downtrodden prawns at the very last minute.
    The little alien Wesley Crusher who's in the downed alien craft and after 20 years discovers how he can wake up the mothership to save the day.
    How the love for an adult and his child can make anything happen.
    Finally two adversaries become friends much like Dragonball Z.
    Everything leading up to the end was good but it's like they ran out of ideas.
    Okay, they ran out of good ideas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KeatonMill (566621)

      Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some tropes in there toward the end, but I feel like in many ways it remains beyond most Hollywood fair. The main character never has a full moment of realization or sympathy. Everything he does right up to the end is for self-preservation and selfish reasons. Only when he realizes he will probably die before reaching the ship does he decide to act at all for selfless reasons, and even then he cautions that he may change his mind at any moment.

      Where else could the mo

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hybryd311 (880004)
      I love when people miss a critical piece of info and run with it. The alien child is only able to awaken/move the mothership because they had acquired that fuel canister. And it took them 20 years to acquire that much fuel.
      And how does the hero being saved by the prawns make this a bad film? You seem to be one of those people who thinks that simply because they can identify something it becomes less valuable. You would be a lot happier in life if you learned to appreciate things more without the strong ne
  • by Mondoz (672060) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:44AM (#29090939)

    I think "Moon" has been the only other major sci-fi non-sequel I've seen in the theaters in a long while...

    I liked D9 and hope it does well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:45AM (#29090953)

    That is a fucking insult if you ask me.

    The film has a great look. I think alien films in daylight and with the psuedo-documentary looks are the hardest things to film.

    The viral ad campaign has been very interesting with the fake NMU ads and such.

    I have much hope for this movie, but if it ends up being just another EVIL CORPORATION movie, I will be disappointed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dzfoo (772245)

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is another EVIL CORPORATION movie. Not only that, it also has an EVIL CEO who directs the EVIL CORPORATION, and carries out their EVIL PLAN.

      On a serious note, I'd say that the movie has fantastic special effects, a great premise, and superb acting; but it falls just short of greatness by its many flaws in execution and scope. This makes it even more disappointing than a regular bad movie, because it is so obvious that it has such great potential, and this potential will

    • More like the Evil United Nations, if you get the "slight nudge" of the acronym and the all-white "peacekeeper" vehicles and choppers.

      It is not a movie about aliens, it is a movie about humans and humanity. Everything you see in it as human-alien attitude and relationships, already has a precedent in human history. It is a social commentary and not a sugar-coated hollywoodcraprollercoasterride. The violence is unglamorized and borders on sickening.

      If you want mindless entertainment with satisfying blows and

  • "of Matrix fame" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dvoecks (1000574) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:46AM (#29090975)
    So, the Wachowski brothers are famous, but not famous enough for people to remember what they're famous for?
    • Compared to Lucas (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Shivetya (243324) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:53AM (#29091087) Homepage Journal

      most people have never heard of them since Matrix, which was ten years ago, which means they need to have their claim to fame mentioned. While many on this site know who they are I bet you could find some readers who don't. If anything getting into the same sentence as Lucas is probably more important to the W brothers than their movie.

  • by Miros (734652) * on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:47AM (#29091007)
    Can't we all at least agree that while this movie may have had its weak points, it also had some very strong ones, and all things considered it is in fact a decent sci-fi film in a year that seems likely to produce a few of those; which, last time I checked, is the exception? From my perspective the past few years have been on average a baron wasteland of terrible purely "Hollywood" style sci-fi films not worth half of what I had to pay to go see them in theaters.
  • by the_macman (874383) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:48AM (#29091013)

    Go see it. Money well spent. The film was really enjoyable (coming from a person who hates most Hollywood films). I think I was most impressed because it was a completely original idea and not a reboot or a sequel. I have to admit though I was partial I was familiar with some of Neil Blomkamp's earlier work.

    FWIW District 9 was based on one of his short films titled "Alive in Joburg [wikipedia.org]. Watch it here [google.com].

    Also I enjoyed Tetra Vaal [google.com], an amaing short film about a police bot in South Africa. Stunning CGI. Enjoy =)

    • by Anonymusing (1450747) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:00AM (#29091175)

      Well, "completely original" except that it is a blend of Alien Nation and the Last Samurai (sorry, I know there must be a better example of a Man-Who-Ends-Up-Fighting-For-The-Other-Side flick, but I really need some sleep).

      Don't get me wrong, I really liked D9. But it did not feel that original.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:48AM (#29091019)

    This film should vault Neill Blomkamp into sci-fi stardom, on par with George Lucas and the Wachowski Brothers (of Matrix fame).

    Okay, thanks for heads up! I will definitely avoid the sequels!

  • I have to agree (Score:4, Interesting)

    by diewlasing (1126425) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:49AM (#29091039)
    If there is one movie you see all year, see District 9. There's action, aliens, a little romance and one very well written story with some nicely animated cgi. I'm usually picky about sci-fi and almost never wanted to see the latest cool new release, but this movie really is tops. I was even more surprised that parts of the movie brought forth some relatively strong emotions. Also, I think the movie does try to send a message and does a good job of it. Ok, I don't want to be anymore of a movie reviewer here so go see it for yourselves.
  • by pw700z (679598) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:50AM (#29091053)
    I suppose I can agree with the summary if we are talking about the George Lucas that made "Jar Jar" -- but not the George Lucas I imagine existed before that. The movie has a strange mix of incredibly awesome and stunningly amateurish or "dumbed down by committee" pieces that kind of made me angry that it fell short of its total awesomeness potential. Kind of like making a Transformer movie and then produce toys that don't transform. Who would think that's a good idea? Thank god Hollywood would never do something like that, so I wouldn't ever have to explain to a three year old on Christmas, "No, honey, it doesn't transform into a semi truck; it's just a robot" ANYWAY you should see District 9 if you haven't but don't expect it to be soo awesome in total, it's pretty good, though. My wife is the true sci-fi fan so I'll wait for her report back tomorrow.
  • by ukyoCE (106879) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:51AM (#29091069) Journal

    Saw this yesterday, thought it was awesome. At its heart the plot isn't necessarily that original, but the execution is sublime. The "hero" and many of the other characters and weapons/vehicles/etc. feel so much more vulnerable than in any other holywood movie.

    In every other movie you shoot at someone and miss completely if they're the good guy. Or your car/spaceship/cat is invulnerable to missiles conveniently. Not in this movie.

    HOWEVER, the combination of shaky cam and gore left everyone I went with feeling a bit nauseous. I'm really not even sure if it was the shaky cam or the gore that did it. Please put a bullet in these shaky cams. For whatever reason they're being used, it's not worth it.

    • by Miros (734652) * on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:58AM (#29091153)
      Shaky is always a bit tough to endure, but I felt as though the "documentary" style that the film was shot in kind of gave it some of its character.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ukyoCE (106879)

        Shakycam can add some flavor/character to a movie. But I think they could do that much with some brief snippets of shakycam, rather than tens of minutes or an entire movie of it.

        Even for "documentary style" - kids playing in the front yard while dad walks around with the cam is one thing. But many of the shaky cam scenes would involve a tripod even in a documentary.

        In other words, when was the last time you felt nauseous watching an ACTUAL documentary?

        (ok so we don't watch a lot of documentaries on the bi

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Lumpy (12016)

          Shakeycam is used to hide crappy FX. I don't care what BS the director tries to put out there it's really easy to hide crappy EFX if you shake the hell out of the camera.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ErikTheRed (162431)

            Shakeycam is used to hide crappy FX. I don't care what BS the director tries to put out there it's really easy to hide crappy EFX if you shake the hell out of the camera.

            That's not true. Shaky-cam is also used by hack directors to hide a complete lack of fight choreography.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Thanks for the heads up about shaky cam. That puts "District 9" on the "maybe when I can watch it for free" list. It was already suspect because of everything I had seen about it "having a message". Generally, I don't watch movies for a message, I watch movies to be entertained. There are exceptions, but so far no one has said anything about the message that puts "District 9" into that elite category.
      • Quite so... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by denzacar (181829)

        Thanks for the heads up about shaky cam. That puts "District 9" on the "maybe when I can watch it for free" list.

        I don't want to have to concentrate physically to be able to follow the story.

        I go to the movies to entertain my mind, not my eye muscles or my vestibular system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pharmboy (216950)

      Firefly proved that a shaky cam can make an otherwise so-so scene appear much more realistic, and puts you (the viewer) in a first person state of mind. I haven't seen the movie yet, but as long as they don't overdo it, I don't find that a shaking cam is such a bad thing if it makes it more realistic.

  • by bugeaterr (836984) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:52AM (#29091081)

    It's high time the Academy recognized Joe, the epileptic cameraman, and his trusty pogo stick named "Earthquake".

    Seriously dude, it would still have that extra realism if the jerkimeter was at 5 instead of 11.

  • by spoonboy42 (146048) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:54AM (#29091117)

    I saw District 9 this Friday, and I have to agree that it was a great piece of cinematic sci-fi: an allegory for apartheid with a very human unlikely hero and some great popcorn-fodder action sequences. I'd like to remind everyone, though, that it still has some competition for year's best sci-fi movie in the form of Moon, which is a drama of isolation, loneliness, and ethics set in the stark, cold beauty of space, very reminiscent of 2001. While it doesn't match the action of D-9, it makes up for it with its emotional intensity and thoughtfulness. I highly recommend any Slashdot movie fans out there see both.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      For everyone who is raving about Moon [imdb.com]:
      It was a very limited release [boxofficemojo.com]

      It opened in 8 theaters, peaked at ~250 and is currently showing at 100 theaters.
      If you didn't live next to a few major cities, you can't and won't see it.

  • Wachowski Bros... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:00AM (#29091185)
    Ok, comparing them to the Wachowski brothers probably isn't the compliment the submitter intended. I would assume...

    The first Matrix movie was superb. I remember literally leaping out of my seat in the theater while watching it. It was incredible. The second movie suggested some fantastic things but really hinged on the third movie to determine whether it was great or not - were those hinted elements executed properly or were those hints just me reading into things? And the third movie sucked so hard that it actually dragged down the first movie's greatness while simultaneously revealing just how terrible the second movie really was. In the second movie, they hinted at and suggested some elements which would have created a wonderful lore for the franchise but their complete lack of ability to craft a story (it's now widely known that the first movie's plot was actually stolen from another author, Sophia Stewart) and their inability to subtly finesse a plot showed through in glaring detail when the third movie came out. Their special effects and fight sequences have had a profound impact on action/sci-fi movies since but, as storytellers, they are enormously subpar, to say the least.

    Actually, given that the other comparison the submitter makes is to George Lucas (another absolute master of the visual art but novice of storytelling and script writing...), I'm now forced to wonder if District 9 is just pretty pictures and cool fight scenes with a piss-poor plot and an infantile script... Regardless, I know I'm going to see it but the comparisons to Lucas and the Wachoskis makes me wonder...
    • Re:Wachowski Bros... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mathness (145187) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:41AM (#29092713) Homepage

      it's now widely known that the first movie's plot was actually stolen from another author, Sophia Stewart

      A quick look on the net bears another story, Snopes [snopes.com] is a good place to start.

      Other than that, you are spot on.

    • by Xandar01 (612884) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:16AM (#29093345) Journal
      Ever here of Snopes? http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/matrix.asp [snopes.com] Case was dismissed for no evidence. (She didn't even show up.)
    • Re:Wachowski Bros... (Score:4, Informative)

      by julesh (229690) on Monday August 17, 2009 @02:13PM (#29096205)

      (it's now widely known that the first movie's plot was actually stolen from another author, Sophia Stewart)

      Other people have corrected you on this, but it's worth pointing out the limits of the similarities between the Matrix and Stewart's story:

      - It's set following an apocalyptic war
      - It featured a character who was subject to a prophecy that he would right all the wrongs in the world
      - This character was repeatedly called "the One"
      - It portrays black people positively (she actually called this out as a similarity, and tried to convince us all that no white script author would do this)
      - It has a black character known as "the Oracle" who makes prophecies

      And, err, that's just about it. The actual plot, it appears, is somewhat different (although the self-published book is apparently no longer available to buy, so it's hard to be certain of this).

      It also features time travel and a character sent to protect "the One"'s mother from some kind of attack or other before he is born, leading her to also accuse The Terminator of being ripped off from her story. Obviously this is just as much total bullshit as the Matrix claim, particularly seeing as most of the elements that she claims were ripped of from her were actually ripped of from a Harlan Ellison TV script, written and produced nearly 20 years before Stewart wrote her book.

  • Saw it. It rocked. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobetov (448774) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:07AM (#29091265) Homepage

    Overall, was tremendously impressed with the look, feel, cinematography, etc. Documentary style absolutely made the movie. And I generally loath shaky-cam. Thing is, shaky-cam has generally been used to imply that you *are* someone, so you never see what the hell is happening, whereas in District 9, it makes you feel like you're *watching* something, so you follow the action but feel the peril. Very effective.

    There were some *amazing* scenes - I can't go into it due to spoilers, but really, unbelievably cringe-inducing moments of humanist horror. There is a richness to the interaction of the main character with his world that I just haven't seen elsewhere.

    My friends and I kept looking over at each other with wild grins on our faces, unable to believe how intense, crazy, and just totally new the whole thing was. I really can't recommend it highly enough.

  • by russotto (537200) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:09AM (#29091293) Journal
    I smell a viral marketing campaign.
  • by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:12AM (#29091339)
    Quoted directly:

    District 9 is liquid cocaine fed intravenously to your veins for two hours. It is a visual 2 1/2 hour orgasm. Watching this movie will be the most important event of your life and by far the most pleasurable. District 9 was better than my wedding, better than watching my first son born, better than the time I had sexual intercourse with an entire college cheerleading squad while high on peyote.

    Words cannot express it. It is like viewing the face of God. Forget the trailers, forget any stills you've seen, forget whatever anyone else has told you. Forget religion, forget God, forget science, forget everything you thought you knew. There is only District 9, and it is beautiful.

    Neill Blomkamp is brilliance incarnate. He is divine. I am not sure how exactly he created this masterpiece of visual neurological cues which induce pure pleasure, but I now owe him absolutely everything. He has perfected visual neural interface with the genius stroke of a Renaissance Master and the prowess of an angel.

    Watch this movie, repeatedly. You will want to take off work for the next week (perhaps longer) just to watch uninterrupted back-to-back showings. I am currently writing this from a netbook that I sneaked into the early matinee showing. I must now continue to watch.

    -Travis

  • best? or only? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:14AM (#29091371)

    Is it just me, or has "science fiction" basically come to mean action/adventure/horror/whatever with rayguns and aliens?

    What ever happened to science fiction that used the premise as a tool to tell us something unpleasant about ourselves? Or to explore human behavior taken to extremes? Or to give us a unique perspective on the world around us?

    Looking back on what science fiction used to be... I'd suggest that District 9 is the only sci-fi movie of 2009...

  • by zizzybaloobah (1021731) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:34AM (#29091657)
    • It takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa.
    • The characters have un-American, un-pronounceable names.
    • The actors are normal-looking, middle-aged people.
    • The special effects take a backseat to everything else.

    I suppose Peter Jackson's name was the only thing that kept this from being laughed out of Hollywood. 'District 9' and 'Moon' are the best sci-fi movies I've seen in awhile.

  • by gubers33 (1302099) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:35AM (#29091671)
    I feel that Star Trek and Terminator were both better Science Fiction movies than District 9. Overall, I feel the acting was much better in the Star Trek and Terminator. The fact that the Trek fans hate it because it goes against the Prime Objective and this and that is irrelevant. It was still a great movie if you are completely unbiased about it. As for the best movie of the year, The Hurt Locker was a better movie in my opinion, the acting, plot and filming were all done perfectly in it. It was probably one of the top three recent war movies made with Private Ryan and Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Ads (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:37AM (#29091703)
    I enjoyed the film quite a lot. I think it has had one of the best ad campaigns in years. I've seen billboards with advisories against picking up alien hitchhikers (warning of a $10,000 fine). The best was the ad banner on a bus simply saying "This bus is for humans only!" and the prawn icon with the red slashed circle. Brilliant, and massively attention getting. I can't recall the last time I heard people at work discussing a billboard.
  • by ajdowntown (91738) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:45AM (#29091837) Homepage
    Warning, might be spoilers:

    Let me say that I was highly disappointed with this movie, and surely I can't be the only one. I went to see it last night, and walked away not recommending it to anyone. There were definite plot holes, the hero (Van De Merwe) I had a hard time rooting for instead of rooting that we would just get shot. He was weak and pathetic, and only had courage while in the exo-suit, and even then, he was wishy-washy. His character was sort of like Borat, the sound effects sounded like the Matrix, and I just couldn't believe the government would allow the Nigerians to become so powerful inside the district, especially when they knew how dangerous they were. The father in law was evil for no apparent reason, and his wife suddenly believes Wilkus without explanation why? I don't know, I just don't buy it at all. A lot of the gore was unneeded, and made me turn away from the screen a few times... Did we really need to see him biting off his nails? And yes, I did think the parts where the humans blew up from the alien weapons were cool, but it just begs the question, why weren't the aliens using the weanpos to revolt instead of selling them to the Nigerians?

    All in all, I just found the movie to be simply unbelievable (yes, I KNOW it is only sci-fi, but still, c'mon!) that were this situation to occur, I just can't see people acting like that. I'd expect tighter government controls, with more international pressures. If this movie wanted to be about apartheid, which is a good social justice issues movie, it needed a little more believability to it, and a little more on the interactions between humans/aliens when the aliens first arrived.

    Mod me up or down, I don't care, it was just that I was expecting so much more, and left feeling like I got a better deal on the popcorn :-/
    • by Kirin Fenrir (1001780) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:15AM (#29092261)
      I normally don't do this, as no third-party production needs "defending" from critics, but I would like to point out some glaring flaws in your post.


      ------- THIS POST CONTAIN MAJOR SPOILERS -----------

      There were definite plot holes, the hero (Van De Merwe) I had a hard time rooting for instead of rooting that we would just get shot. He was weak and pathetic, and only had courage while in the exo-suit, and even then, he was wishy-washy.

      A protaganist and a "Hero" are not the same thing. Hollywood forgets this, and in turn, many moviegoers forget this. I'm sorry you had a hard time rooting for an ignorant, racist, cowardly protagonist, but that was the point of the character.

      and I just couldn't believe the government would allow the Nigerians to become so powerful inside the district, especially when they knew how dangerous they were.

      This is a very Amero-centric point of view. Just because something like this is not plausible in the United States, does not make it far-fetched. The situation with the Nigerian warlord happens all the time in less wealthy or stable countries.

      The father in law was evil for no apparent reason, and his wife suddenly believes Wilkus without explanation why?

      You complain about the depth of the main character than complain about the one-sidedness of a minor character with minimal screentime? We don't see enough of the father to know much about him, aside from his greed. As for his wife, that's called a romantic subplot...she chose to love her husband regardless of the lies around her.

      A lot of the gore was unneeded, and made me turn away from the screen a few times... Did we really need to see him biting off his nails?

      Yes, I happen to think we did. The nails being lost did exactly what it was supposed to: sent a shiver up your spine. I prefer a movie that doesn't shy away from the dirty details of it's events. It potrayed the messy and tragic reality of Wilkus's condition.

      why weren't the aliens using the weanpos to revolt instead of selling them to the Nigerians?

      Explained directly in the plot. Almost all the aliens were worker drones with little free will of their own, bred to follow orders. They were very good at building things, but only rarely did any have the drive and wit to form complex plans (Christopher). I have to question if we watched the same film.

    • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:28AM (#29092487) Homepage Journal

      the hero (Van De Merwe) I had a hard time rooting for instead of rooting that we would just get shot. He was weak and pathetic, and only had courage while in the exo-suit, and even then, he was wishy-washy.

      It is precisely the main human protagonist's flaws that make him interesting and give meaning to his redemptive acts near the end of the movie.

      I just couldn't believe the government would allow the Nigerians to become so powerful inside the district, especially when they knew how dangerous they were.

      Dangerous to whom? District-9 was completely sealed off and by well-armed corporate mercenaries, so the Nigerians were not much of a threat to the citizen of Johannesburg. And as for being dangerous to the "prawns", well, it's pretty clear the powers-that-be didn't really give a shit about them.

      The father in law was evil for no apparent reason,

      Just because a facet of someone's personality (which one would likely normally keep a secret) comes to the surface later in a story does not mean there's no apparent reason for it. Besides, the reason for the father-in-law's action was apparent: greed (and the fact that he didn't much care for his son-in-law).

      why weren't the aliens using the weanpos to revolt instead of selling them to the Nigerians?

      The aliens did not stage a revolt using their superior technology because they were stupid drones who lacked initiative. This was all explicitly stated near the beginning of the movie, and repeatedly demonstrated throughout it (e.g. trading the mech-suit for a hundred cans of cat food).

    • I had a hard time rooting for instead of rooting that we would just get shot. He was weak and pathetic, and only had courage while in the exo-suit, and even then, he was wishy-washy.

      Wikus is a bureaucratic simpleton thrust into a situation far beyond his grasp. One of the major things I enjoyed about the film was watching the development of his character. With every plot twist, I had to wonder -- is he beginning to see? Does he understand now what he's been a part of? Is he beginning to get a better sense o

  • by SnowDog74 (745848) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:45AM (#29092775)
    I had the opportunity to interview writer/director Neill Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley, who plays Wikus van der Merwe. Here's the link to the interview [cinemalogue.com] and to the review [cinemalogue.com] I published this past week. I think that Blomkamp will continue to impress us if he keeps focused on further developing the story and the characters in his future films. Is it a perfect film? No. Most sci-fi is far from the depths of where cinematic drama can reach, but this is a respectable start for a first time film director who was spared, I will say, of the critical failure that Halo is destined to become. As someone else mentioned, I've also followed Blomkamp's work from Tetra Vaal to his CitrÃen and VW ads, and the film short "Alive in Joburg" which I've linked in the interview page URL I've posted here.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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